Photo by Trey Love Photography
Irmo Middle School recorded its most successful middle school wrestling season in school history under first-year Head Coach – Tommy Sevilla.
Sevilla’s squad of mostly first-year wrestlers and 4 – 7th graders, would send a record 8 wrestlers to the South Carolina High School League – Area 5 Qualifiers.
Heavyweights Gauge Jones (2nd place) and Amir Clay (4th place) would qualify, along with 175 pounder, Curtis Thompson (2nd place) in the upper weights. The heart of Sevilla’s lineup would qualify: Darian Green, undefeated at 145 lbs would win the Area 5 Tournament, edging out teammate Ayden Floyd (2nd place) 5-4. Luke Sevilla, would capture the tournament’s 126 lb. title, and 7th grader and first year wrestler, Caleb Casillas would capture 2nd place and 100 pounder, Jordan Hawkins (4th), also qualified for the Capital Sectionals, the SCHSL qualifier for the middle school State tournament.
The SCHSL Capital Section Tournament, would match the top 6 Area 5 Qualifiers from middle schools from multiple counties throughout South Carolina’s Midlands, with the Top 3 wrestlers advancing to the Carolina Invitational State Tournament in Lexington. Irmo Middle School’s undefeated 7th grader, Luke Sevilla, again dominated the 126 lb weight class and become the 2024 Capital Section Champion, along with undefeated 8th grader, Darian Green, would again edge out his teammate, Ayden Floyd in a last second thriller, to become the 2024 Capital Section Champion at 145 lbs. Floyed would also qualify at 145 lbs as the tournament 2nd place finisher.
At last weeks Carolina Invitational State Middle School and JV Wrestling Tournament, Irmo Middle School Wrestlers faced adversity; Sevilla had a high fever and extremely high blood sugar that would prevent him from competing and Ayden Floyd, battling recent illness, would make an attempt at the State Title but would come up short. Darian Green however, in his opening match of the tournament, would suffer severe head and neck trauma when he was the object of an illegal body slam by his opponent, who would be disqualified from the match. Green, who would need immediate emergency medical attention, was stabilized and eventually transported by ambulance to the regional trauma center for emergency evaluation and treatment. Green, with a severe concussion, would eventually be released and recover at home and return to school this week.
During their season, Irmo Middle School, with only 12 wrestlers on the roster, would see their roster dwindle with injuries and illness or other means of attrition during the season and at times, would have to forfeit as many as 5 weight classes in dual meets and at tournaments but would nonetheless compete against the state’s top middle school wrestling programs.
Irmo Middle School Wrestlers recorded head to head wins against Hammond, American Leadership Academy, Cardinal Newman, Dreher, Crayton, Dutch Fork and others in dual meets, as well as head to head wins or ties with the likes of local schools with deep rosters and perennial wrestling powerhouses: Stover, Lugoff-Elgin, Chapin, Blythewood and Saluda Trail.
Sevilla, new to South Carolina from Southern California, stepped into the role as Head Coach as a volunteer assistant and shortly thereafter would officially assume the primary role.
“I am exceedingly proud of these young men and all that they accomplished through hard work and dedication this season,” Sevilla said. “They have bought into the system and now view themselves as wrestlers, recognizing how beneficial the sport is to them not only as student-athletes, but as young men in life in general. It’s been a blessing to coach them to such a successful season and God receives all glory, honor and praise for our accolades. I hope to have more kids come out next season and would encourage the girls to come out and learn the sport as well. Irmo needs an all-girls team and youth wrestling program in the city as there’s no doubt in my mind that we have athletes on campus who will become area, sectional and State Champions in the great sport of wrestling, even eventually earning scholarships in the sport at the high school level.”
Sevilla, a Certified USA Wrestling and Boxing Coach and youth coach for more than 30 years, has coached his son and daughter in club youth wrestling at local, regional and national tournaments and seeks to start a youth wrestling program in Irmo.
Sevilla’s daughter Gracie, will be attending Irmo Middle School next year and he hopes to have her as part of his team as a 7th grader. Gracie has several local, regional tournament titles to her credit, including one Most Outstanding Wrestler Trophy after winning a national event in Arizona.
Sevilla’s son Luke, has 9 national event titles to his credit and will wrestle for South Carolina’s Team Palmetto at the SCWAY Grizzly Duals; a State Team Wrestling Championship for that league.
Only two IMS Wrestlers had a season or more of wrestling experience prior to this season and 10 out of 13 Irmo Middle School Wrestlers had winning records.
Irmo Middle School Wrestlers:
Jordan Hawkins (98)
Emmanuel Brown (102)
Gideon Stroud (108)
Kiernan Fenton (114)
Caleb Casillas (120)
South Davis (120)
Luke Sevilla (126)
Jakari Latimer (133)
Ayden Floyd (145)
Darian Green (145)
Curtis Thompson (175)
Amir Clay (205)
Ashton Gladden (Heavyweight)
Gauge Jones (Heavyweight)